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Escort, sex line calls on phone of school chief

At least 39 calls to escort services and sex chat lines were placed from Orchard Park School Superintendent Paul J. Grekalski's district- issued cell phone since September, according to district phone records.

The cell phone calls include 24 to phone numbers of escort services: five in West Seneca, 10 in Buffalo, three in Niagara Falls, two in Niagara Falls, Ont., two in Fredonia and two in Williamsville, according to records obtained by The Buffalo News. The other calls were placed to sex chat lines.

When questioned by The News, Grekalski said the calls were made while his son had the phone. His son said he had lent the phone to friends, who placed the calls.

The calls to sex chat lines showed up as either long-distance numbers or toll-free numbers on the bills. The calls did not incur any charges above the standard monthly rate. The numbers require callers to enter a credit card number.

Four video games also were purchased on the phone, including casino video poker, according to the phone bills. Grekalski reimbursed the district for those charges.

When contacted Monday about the calls, Grekalski initially said he knew nothing about them. In a later interview, he said he had talked to his son, who took responsibility.

His son, Paul Jr., 25, said: "I lent the phone out. I thought these guys could be trusted."

News of the calls comes at the same time information surfaced that the district has paid his rent since September, while taxes on his house in Chautauqua County are unpaid.

Two weeks ago, Grekalski came under scrutiny for charging $3,191 in personal expenses to a district credit card, without the School Board's knowledge. He reimbursed the district for the charges.

He said he was using the district's card because he was afraid that if he had a credit card of his own, his family would misuse it. Grekalski canceled the Visa card in March, after a resident questioned the charges.

The district pays for the superintendent's cell phone, as it does for those of other administrators. Administrators are instructed to use the phones only for district business and emergencies, officials said.

Grekalski canceled his personal cell phone in mid-July, when he received a district phone, he said.

To date, he has reimbursed the district $205.60, largely for excessive calls to directory information, according to the records.

"Because of the difficulty of sorting out personal versus official calls, I simply pay for all my phone usage over the $36 monthly charge for the plan, regardless whether that use is for official or personal business," he wrote in a statement to The Buffalo News, which he said he prepared with the help of Karl Kristoff, the district's attorney.

Grekalski was hired in July, after longtime Superintendent Charles L. Stoddart retired. Grekalski, 57, was previously the superintendent of the Frewsburg School District in Chautauqua County for 18 years.

The district has paid the rent for Grekalski's Orchard Park apartment - $4,575 since he moved in on Sept. 1, according to records o btained under the state's Freedom of Information Law.

When Grekalski was hired, the School Board agreed to reimburse him up to $7,000 for "reasonable moving and relocation expenses," according to a written addendum to his contract. The district paid $259 to cover the cost of a truck rental at the end of August and $1,530 for stays at the Hampton Inn in West Seneca.

The district also paid for several months of his rent out of the $7,000 stipend. The apartment cost $525 a month the end of February. Records indicate the district has agreed to continue paying Grekalski's rent, now $450 a month, through the end of June.

Some board members said that is a common use of relocation funds.

Grekalski said he plans to "establish a more permanent residence" in Orchard Park once his daughter graduates from high school this year. His contract does not require him to live in the Orchard Park School District.

Grekalski continues to own a house in Chautauqua County. He has paid his school taxes there, but is late paying $2,462 in town and county taxes, according to the Town of Carroll assessor's office. He said his wife handles the bills and would pay the taxes soon.

e-mail: mpasciak@buffnews.com